Earth: The Shareholder We Should All Invest In
Patagonia, founded by rock climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard in 1973, has been a trailblazing company for corporate environmental leadership since its start by establishing its brand core values that include “cause no unnecessary harm and use business to protect nature.” But the billionaire owner truly put the cherry on top on Wednesday, September 14th, announcing that he will give away the company valued at $3 billion to help fight climate change.
Even though this news surprised the nation, it feels right within the brand's ethos, as Chouinard has made it clear that his love for the environment is more important than his role as a businessman.
The New York Times highlighted a quote from the founder, ‘“Hopefully, this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Mr. Chouinard, 83, said in an exclusive interview. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”’
The Chouinard family transferred its 2% of voting stock into a new entity called the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which ensures that the company will stick to its word and follow through with its environmental commitments. The family will pay $17.5 million in taxes this year because of this trust donation.
The other 98% of Patagonia was donated to Holdfast Collective, which will now receive all the company’s profits that will be used to fight climate change.
Found in The New York Times, ‘“Patagonia has already donated $50 million to the Holdfast Collective and expects to contribute another $100 million this year, making the new organization a major player in climate philanthropy.”’
These actions by the Chouinard family have been reported as remarkable, outstanding, and purposeful. ‘“I didn’t want to be a businessman. Now I could die tomorrow, and the company is going to continue doing the right thing for the next 50 years, and I don’t have to be around,’” said Chouinard from his home in Jackson, Wyo.
Chouinard has never been someone to let his money change his life. Despite being a wealthy businessman, it is known that he still doesn’t own a cellphone or computer, wears old but simple clothing, drives an ordinary Subaru, and lives in modest homes in the two cities that bring him the most joy from the outdoors.
When customers open the Patagonia website, they are immediately greeted by the new owner, Earth.
“Earth is now our only shareholder,” Chouinard is seen writing in pen on a sheet of paper in the new website video, making the statement feel real and something worth trusting.
This family of philanthropists has been said to be outliers as there aren't many billionaires giving away their assets to a charitable cause, especially something involving the environment. Chouinard took the leap and put his money where his mouth was to make a difference worth remembering. His love for the environment and the outdoors will make him far more wealthy than any amount of money could.
The pressure is now on for other brands to step up and establish themselves as more than just a company working to be sustainable. Chouinard's statement, “We can save our planet if we commit to it,” is what the world needed to hear to push forward with hope, determination, and resilience.
-As always, elevate your wardrobe with respected fashion and embrace the shift in style
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